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Racecar Alphabet (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards))

Press:Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books; 1st Printing edition (November 1, 2003)
Publication Date:2003-11-01
Author Name:Brian Floca


A is for Automobiles, machines on wheels. 
B is for Belts turning, fuel burning, the buzz and bark of engines.
C is for Curves and crowds and cars, of course -- A century of racecars, from bare beginnings to present-day marvels, from stock cars to Formula 1, from Ford to Ferrari, caught in crackling action, in fan-friendly pictures, and in words that bounce and jounce for the fun of it.

From Booklist

Floca's picture-book tribute to auto racing looks simple, but many things are going on at once.
There is, of course, a race.
Also, the alphabetical text often uses alliterative phrases, providing functional fare for phonetics fanatics and fun for everyone else.
And finally, each turn of the page represents a time shift.
Although a single race appears to proceed throughout the book, the cars, drivers, tracks, and spectators change considerably from the book's opening in 1901, when a Ford chugs along a country road, to the conclusion in 2001, when a Ferrari takes its victory lap around an immense racetrack.
Large in scale, the ink-and-watercolor artwork is bold enough to share with a story hour or classroom group, yet young racing fans will find the details absorbing.
Floca's introductory note on the history of racing may interest them as well.
The clean, spacious book design is thoughtfully planned, right down to the end papers, which show different views of the cars and drivers.
An appealing picture book on an unusual subject.
Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

About the Author

Brian Floca is the author and illustrator of Locomotive, winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal; Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11, a Robert F. 
Sibert Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; Lightship, also a Sibert Honor Book; and Racecar Alphabet, an ALA Notable Children’s Book.
He has illustrated Avi’s Poppy Stories, Kate Messner’s Marty McGuire novels, and Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s Ballet for Martha: Making Appalachian Spring, a Sibert Honor Book and winner of the Orbis Pictus Award.
You can visit him online at BrianFloca.com.


Children's Books,Early Learning,Basic Concepts,Alphabet,Cars, Trains & Things That Go,Cars & Trucks,Sports & Outdoors

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Comment List (Total:18)

  •     My son is only 10 months old and I was a little reluctant to get this book at first because I thought it would be too much of a "let's learn the alphabet" book.However, it is nothing of the sort. While not a rhyming book its clever mix of consonance, assonance, onomatopoeia and surely other literary devices that elude me, make it seem almost poetic.Leaving the high-brow behind, this book has numerous strengths -- it has an above average size which makes for big, dramatic illustrations; it has a fantastic read-aloud quality due to its profoundly thoughtful word choice; it has a lot of subtle things going on with the evolution of the racecar, etc; finally, it is just plain fun. If it didn't have alphabet in the title you might not even notice the whole alphabet thing going on -- it definitely doesn't try to be an educational book or to force feed kids learning.I couldn't recommend it more highly for children no matter how young.

  •     Great

  •     My 4 year old loves

  •     Great book for my grandson's 4th birthday!

  •     Great grandsons love this book.

  •     Great

  •     Brian Floca figured out something for "The Racecar Alphabet" that a lot of author/illustrators could benefit from remembering. If you're writing a book, be it alphabet, fairy tale, or plain old run-of-the-mill fiction, and your story is about a non-fiction subject, do adults like me a favor and include some factual information at the beginning for them to bone up on. That way, when they read this book to their hepped up five-year-olds, they'll avoid the embarrassment of a blank stare that comes when a preschooler asks, "Why are the racecars driving through a city and not a racetrack?". It's funny, but the only real problem I've had with this book is that it IS an alphabet book. If it were not, it would probably have a much wider audience. Sometimes the choices an author makes are more confining than they can anticipate. Doesn't make the book bad, though.The book's endpapers consist of eighteen racecars dating between a 1901 Ford 999 to a souped up 2001 Ferrari F1-2001. On the front endpapers, the cars face towards the reader. On the back endpapers they face away. The fact that Floca took the time to make a change that most people won't even notice is a great way of understanding this book. Floca is, if nothing else, meticulous. After a quick note on, "One Hundred Years of Racecars" we reach the title page and an image of a man driving a very clunky, mighty dirty car down a dirt road. The first double page spread reads, "Automobiles - machines on wheels". And we're off! Each letter begins a sentence that describes the racecar attitude right from the start. Sometimes these sentences are alliterative jolts of energy like, "Flat feared and fought, the driver's foe". Sometimes (as in the case of an injured driver) they're a single word. "Yelp!". By the end of the book we have witnessed a variety of different cars over the years and an increasingly complex sport.My husband just looked over my shoulder as I was writing this review and felt it necessary to point out that it is really difficult to draw cars. Now imagine drawing a shockingly wide variety of them. You have to be able to distinguish a car that was clearly popular in 1976 to its hoity-toity 1992 equivalent. So well done there, Mr. Floca. My husband also points out that the book completely skips over the period of history where moonshiners started racing their cars in the Southern hills. No such tribute to these racing pioneers appears in this book. You may be relieved or outraged as you see fit.In my experience, "The Racecar Alphabet" is hampered only by the word "Alphabet" in its title. Intelligent preschoolers who're into automobiles will pass on this book because they think the alphabet is too babyish for them. I often want to explain to them that the alphabet aspect of this publication is hardly the focus. You wouldn't even necessarily know it was there unless someone pointed it out to you! My pleas fall on deaf ears, though, and I wish that Floca had been a little less original in his formatting. An odd wish.Brian Floca is, at this point in history, probably best known for the illustrations he's done for Avi's mighty popular (and well-written) "Poppy" series. For kids that are just a bit too young for Avi's mouse tales, however, "The Racecar Alphabet" will serve as an excellent introduction to Floca's work. Technically adept, informative, and a lot of fun, this is one car title that deserves to be on any racing fan's shelf. A great beginning for the burgeoning NASCAR fan (and a good book to boot).

  •     This book is so stinking cute! The rhyming is great, kids and adults alike will enjoy it!!!

  •     fantastic book. my kids have worn the words right off the page. LOL just kidding, but they do love this book.

  •     The illustrations and the writing are exquisite. Floca's alliterative language and detailed drawings are wonderfully evocative.

  •     Book came without cover. I have hundreds of hard cover books from Amazon and they ALL have come with book covers. So annoying.

  •     Kids love the illustrations, and parents love the different take on a alphabet book. Each page also has cars numbered 1-26 to go along with the corresponding letter of the alphabet it's on. It's a fun addition on each page that kids like looking for. Overall great book.

  •     My grandson loved this book!!!! He makes his parents sit with him while he reads it and of course, asks how to say a word and what it means as he needs to. If he's happy with it, then so am I. What was extra special was receiving the book in the mail with his name on the package!!!

  •     If you are expecting the "A is for..." Kind of thing, think again. This is one of the best illustrated and best written ABC books out there. Large scale book with exciting points of view keeps kids engaged. A lot of nice history for the adult as well. This is probably one of the author's best books and it will entertain the little ones as well as the ones a bit older (up to 5 at least).

  •     The illustrations are fantastic, but the text is meh, even for a children's book. Given it was on sale (probably for a reason), I grabbed it for my son who loves race cars - $7.50 is a steal for kids books, but I would recommend borrowing this one from the library.

  •     Simply amazing

  •     The Racecar Alphabet does a clever job of showing a racing scene for each letter. Scenes are of historic races, cars, and people, so this is a book that I enjoyed as well.Each letter's phrases are as alliterative as possible; some work better than others.I recommend this as a cute book that fathers can read to their children in order to start them on the road to becoming the Formula One World Champion!

  •     Fun book for those who like cars and are learning to read


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